By Aaliyah Moore
My family took a hard loss last year when my aunt who was the same age as my parents, passed away. We’ve experienced loss before, but I think death hits differently when you’re an adult because you’re more aware. You also process it differently than you would as a child. My aunt had one daughter, who’s the same age as me, ( we were literally born one month apart, lol), and my heart aches every day at the thought of her having to navigate life now without the person who had all the answers, her mom. And not just for my cousin, but my heart goes out to all the people I know that are my age who have lost a parent.
Since my aunt’s passing, there’s been a real shift in the way I see things in my life, and one of those things is my relationship with my parents. Now, I wasn’t a “bad” child growing up, and I wouldn’t say I ever really gave my parents a lot of trouble. But looking back, I can think of times I could’ve been more respectful and appreciative of the guidance my parents tried to give me along the way.
I’ve officially been “adulting” on my own for about two years now, and boy is it a hot mess! Like being an adult really sucks. I remember as a child people would always tell me not to be in a rush to grow up, and I totally wish I could turn back the hands of time. From paying bills to working 40+ hours a week, I really have no idea how my parents managed to take care of three children and still maintain their sanity. Now that I am experiencing adulthood for myself, I realize that my parents’ roles came with a lot of sacrifices, and behind the scenes stuff that my siblings and I didn’t even know about. I feel like in my teen years I probably put a lot of pressure on my parents to be perfect, which was totally unfair. I remember being upset because I didn’t get a car like many of my other peers did at 16, which was terribly insensitive, because I couldn’t even drive, lol.
I think sometimes as children, we forget that our parents are human beings that are still trying to figure out life for themselves, all while trying to be the best parents to us they can be. Now that I’m older and I see life from a much different lens, I realize how blessed I am to have my parents who have really done the best they could. To this very day, my parents are still there for me, and are always one phone call away, trying to show up for me in whatever way they can.
Broken families seem to be a trend in the black community and I would love to see that change. That change first begins with the work I do in my own family. The truth of the matter is, my parents aren’t perfect, and yours aren’t either. I’ve butt heads with my parents, and at times I haven’t been the most cooperative, obedient child. But that’s true for any parent-child relationship. One thing I can appreciate about my dad is that he’s always taught us the importance of mending relationships and never staying mad for too long.
I do understand that mending relationships within a family isn’t easy work, especially when there are deep wounds that have caused a strain along the way. It also takes both parties being willing to do the work, and it could be a barrier if you’re trying to mend a relationship with someone who isn’t willing to participate, or isn’t willing to accept the part they played in the failing of the relationship. All I’m saying is, if God has graced you with the time to do it, I feel that you should aim to make amends and not stay mad for too long. Right or wrong, parents are gifts, and losing my aunt really taught me to appreciate mine more and extend them a little more grace. I thought that as I grew older I may not need my parents as much, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While the things I need them for now are much different than what I needed from them as a child, it doesn’t take away the fact that I still need them. Having living parents is really an underrated blessing, and I’m glad I still have mine here to help me navigate this journey through adulthood.
Aaliyah Moore is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC.